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Is Point Break Based On A True Story?

Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 action film "Point Break" stars Keanu Reeves as undercover FBI agent Johnny Utah, who begins investigating and trying to infiltrate a gang of bank robbers called the "Ex-Presidents," so named because the criminals wear rubber masks of former commanders-in-chief. However, Utah's work takes an unexpected turn when he forms a charged friendship with the gang's charismatic leader Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) during group surfing hang-outs. When Bodhi reveals he knows more about Utah's motivations than he's letting on, Utah gets drawn into a world of underground crime and intense surfing. 

Since the film's release, it has been referred to as everything from a "cult favorite" with "homoerotic undertones" to the "greatest female-gaze action movie" to a "wet Western." A less well-received remake of the same name was released in 2015, while the first installment in "The Fast and the Furious" franchise was essentially "'Point Break,' but with cars." But for many, the '90s original has arguably stood the test of time. And the plot is so wild that fans may be wondering: Is "Point Break" based on a true story? 

"Point Break" is an adrenaline-filled work of fiction

It turns out that co-producer Rick King came up with the idea for "Point Break" while spending time at a Los Angeles beach, according to an interview with Hidden-Films. He had recently read an LA Weekly article proclaiming that the City of Angels was the robbery capital of the United States. So he let his imagination wander, and eventually came up with a movie about an FBI agent who joins an adrenaline-loving surf gang in hopes of catching a bank robbery gang. So while the original kernel for the idea came from actual news at the time, the rest of the film's surfing bank robbers were King's invention. Meanwhile, the film was originally called "Johnny Utah," according to JamesCameronOnline.com, but was eventually named after the surfing term "point break" (in which a wave breaks as it hits a piece of land).

The 2015 remake added several elements, such as making the characters travel to 11 different countries rather than concentrating all of the action in Los Angeles. Likewise, rather than limiting the athletic content to surfing, the movie features everything from snowboarding to climbing to skydiving. Unfortunately for adrenaline lovers, it's just a little too cutting edge to be based in reality.